WASPI women have been left ‘high and dry’ says David Linden
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The Government policy to equalise state pension ages (SPA) has proved particularly controversial.
The legislation implementing the first change, passed in 1995, was not communicated adequately according to a Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) report, which described “maladministration” in the Department for Work and Pensions’ (DWP) handling of the changes.
In many cases women were left entirely unaware their state pension age had even been changed.
“I’ve heard from constituents who were completely blindsided by the changes and faced extreme financial and psychological stress as a result”, Mr Gwynne said.
“1950s-born women are living every day with the consequences of successive DWP maladministration.”
One such woman, Dee Wild, has told Express.co.uk how she received no warning of how the changes affected her and with only one year to go until her expected retirement age, she was “devastated” to discover she had to wait another six.
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She has had to use savings to plug financial gaps and was forced to continue working to the point that her health has deteriorated.
“Working has caused me physical injury and the need for regular physio and I am quite sure the stress has now caused my recently acquired heart condition,” Dee said.
It has been revealed that a secret memo stated “50 percent [of people] think their SPA is 60 and seven percent don’t know,” demonstrating that the issue was not one that ministers of successive governments were unaware of.
Andrew Gwynne stresses that this isn’t a party political issue as “none of the major parties are blameless in this”.
“We need to develop and implement a cross-party solution,” he said. “It’s for this reason that Conservative MP Peter Aldous and I are working so hard together to sort out this injustice once and for all.
“I would like to see the Government address the recent report from the Ombudsman, and meet with campaigners to discuss how these women will be compensated. We would also like to meet with the DWP about the possibility of implementing welfare reform to recognise and assist these 1950’s-born women.
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“I don’t deny that compensation and resolution will cost money, but these women have been punished through no fault of their own, and they deserve justice. We cannot and must not ignore this problem and hope it just goes away.”
A DWP spokesperson has previously told Express.co.uk: “Both the High Court and Court of Appeal have supported the actions of the DWP, under successive governments dating back to 1995, and the Supreme Court refused the claimants permission to appeal.
“In a move towards gender equality, it was decided more than 25 years ago to make the state pension age the same for men and women.”
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